HYAK – The opening of a new stretch of eastbound Interstate 90 marks the halfway point of a 15-mile improvement project to add lanes, build bridges, stabilize rock slopes, reduce avalanche closures and improve wildlife movement east of Snoqualmie Pass.
The Washington State Department of Transportation and contractor crews opened two of three new eastbound lanes to traffic last week. The third and final lane is scheduled to open in November.
“After many years of hard work, it’s exciting to see we are nearing completion,” said Brian White, WSDOT assistant regional administrator for construction. “The additional lanes and avalanche bridges will provide a more reliable roadway and the wildlife overcrossing will improve safety and connect wildlife habitat.”
In 2013, WSDOT celebrated the completion of the first 3 miles of the corridor. The near-completion of this 4-mile section marks a major milestone as WSDOT is halfway to completing the full 15 miles between Hyak and Easton.
This 7-mile section of I-90 between Hyak and Stampede Pass, with a total budget of $551 million, was funded by the 2005 gas tax. Contractor crews removed more than 2 million cubic yards of material and poured 153,000 cubic yards of concrete to build six new lanes – three in each direction – and 17 new bridges including two avalanche bridges and a wildlife overcrossing.
Work to complete the remaining half of the 15-mile corridor is scheduled to begin in 2021 with completion in 2029. This 8-mile section will add new lanes, stabilize rock slopes, build more wildlife overcrossings and add new chain-up areas. The Connecting Washington funding package provides $426 million to improve this final stretch of I-90.